katavi national park

Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park: Background Info

Home to the largest herds of buffalo on the planet, Katavi National Park is a relatively untouched wilderness paradise, situated in the western area of Tanzania. The park boasts a wonderful array of habitats, which range from flood plains of thick reeds and dense waterways that teem with hippo and crocodile to woodlands, open grasslands, forests and pristine seasonal lakes. Visitors to the area can seek out the legendary tamarind tree, which is said to house the spirit of a great huntsman named Katabi. Here, they can place an offering at the base of the tree in memory of this exceptional hunter.

Katavi National Park: Destination Preview

katavi national park


Katavi’s landscape is dominated by 3 large floodplains strung together by the Katuma River which boasts one of the largest population of Hippo and Croc and provides a habitat for an abundance of water fowl. The savanna plains fill with huge herds during the day time and the equally impressive selection of predators wait patiently for their return to the woodland towards the end of the day.

Katavi National Park is home to an abundance of wildlife, including wildebeest, giraffes, elephants, zebras, African buffaloes, lions, leopards, and cheetahs. Crocodiles and hippos are frequently spotted on the banks of the Katuma River. During the dry season, hippos relax in mud-holes and cover themselves in mud sunscreen to protect their sensitive skin. Katavi is also a refuge for wild dogs, a critically endangered species. Hundreds of hippos and crocodiles gather around the scarce waterholes, and thousands of topis, impalas, and zebras pass through the plains.


Katavi is mainly visited in the Dry season, which isn't the best time for birding, but the rivers harbor a large concentration of water-associated birds throughout the year. Particularly common are herons, plovers, spoonbills, African openbills and groups of stork including yellow-billed and saddle-billed stork. Raptors are well represented, with the fish eagle, bateleur and white-backed vulture being very common. Over 400 species have been recorded, and migratory birds are present from November to April.

The birdlife in Katavi is good year-round, but at its best from November to April when the migratory birds from Europe and northern Africa are present. At this time, many resident bird species are nesting and are in breeding plumage. The rains usually arrive in November and last until early June. For birding specifically, November to March is the best time. The problem, however, is that many roads become hard to travel after continuous rain. As a result, most camps are closed from March to May. For wildlife viewing, the middle and end of the Dry season (June-October) is considerably better.

Katavi National Park: Location

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